Mullaperiyar – Nobody Gives a Dam(n)?

Really, not many seem to give a damn about the imminent danger they face.. Even if it is an issue that is poised to become one of the biggest man-made catastrophes the world has ever seen. Call it disinterest, ignorance, apathy, ego, lack of money-making opportunities or anything, this almost total “I-don’t-give-a-damn-ness is almost criminal. The Mullaperiyar dam disaster, if it happens due to the age of the dam and the cracks in it, will cause destruction on such epic mind-numbing scales that can be difficult to even comprehend fully. In case you live in the areas that are going to be affected you will almost certainly be dead, and even if you survive, you will slowly die of diseases, hunger and thirst. The industrial, economic, financial and social consequences of the disaster will be unimaginable, so much so that it will set back the progress of the country by several years and that of Kerala and Tamil Nadu by decades. Political plays and interests notwithstanding, and the real fact seems that no one cares if 3 million or a billion Malayalees die, what pains the most is the lack of support the issue still faces from a section the very people who are going to be affected. Especially from those who are at the topmost section of the society who will almost certainly be not affected if the disaster happens. But looking at a silver lining, we now know who are real and who are hollow.

Read: Save Mullaperiyar, Save Kerala, Save Us!

Mullaperiyar Dam Near Maximum Capacity on Nov 28 2011, Courtesy The Hindu


Though the issue has evoked strong reactions in the affected areas, the remaining simply do not know or care about this. Even some living in the areas that are going to be affected seem to be least perturbed. The protests seem to be most vocal only among the people living in the shadow of the dam who are literally scared to death and terrified. Apart from them, the only others who care seem to be a small group of people who have access to the internet and are active on Facebook, Twitter etc and come together to conduct small candle light vigils etc. which will have little or no effect, but will help to put across the point anyway. The general comments of apathetic people who are asked about the issue:

“I don’t live in the affected area anyway. I am safe. So I am not worrying”

Apathy and not bothered about lakhs of their fellow people dying aside, I will get back to this on how these “safe” people are going to get affected.

“All this is a conspiracy by the government/media/film producers/pseudo-secularists/real estate mafia/some other mafia/some other unknown people to get some sort of mileage out of it. I am smarter than them. Ha!”

Really? One of the major problems the issue faces is the almost total indifference taken by all the people mentioned above in the issue. And what mileage can be taken out of an issue like this? And in case you didn’t notice, the campaign and worry was not unleashed by any of these “forces” mentioned above, but by people living in the valley, terrified after a series of earthquakes that hit the region.

“I don’t care. Nothing is going to happen. You people are jobless.”

Make sure you say this after you are dead also.


Throw a stone in Kerala and you will surely hit some kind of a social-cultural-literary-political (സാമൂഹ്യ-സാംസ്കാരിക-സാഹിത്യ-രാഷ്ട്രീയ) leader or activist, who usually speak and shout volumes spewing our their vociferous opinions on anything ranging from American intrusion in Cuba to the cultural regression of the South African government to the dictatorial efficiency of the erstwhile Gaddafi regime to film stars’ hair transplants to the moral habits of rapists and victims. But surprisingly, not one, not even ONE of these so-called intellectuals have even opened their precious mouths to give their comments or lead the people on this case. They sit atop their stinking thrones thinking that problems like these that really affect the common people are inferior or not worth enough for their golden words and more-precious-than-diamonds brains and thought process to be wasted upon. Even the famed “literary philosopher” who kicked up a storm outraging against film actors for some ridiculous non-issue is silent as a grave now. These pretentious hypocrites who only fill newspaper and snobby literary magazine pages with unintelligible literary and hollow fact less gobbledygook which no one reads, should be given a deaf ear to from now on, totally ostracized from the community itself for their glorious non-involvement. This involves religious leaders who spewed venom when the Kerala Government tried to restrict number of children in households.

Even though politicians in Kerala are more concerned about issues that happen elsewhere and don’t affect people at all, it is heartening to see that some of the people who are least expected to provide any support are trying whatever little they can to. The MPs from the affected districts, regardless of party are sort of pushing to get the issue recognized at a national level. But as small in number they are and as politically inexperienced and dwarfs as they are in front of the more powerful, vocal and recognized TN politicians, their attempts have only rendered half-hearted support so far from the central government and others who matter. And here, too, the fact is that out of the 20 MPs we have, only 12 were present for the agitation they had conducted outside the parliament. Talks a lot about dedication, doesn’t it? And then we have the case of the central ministers, who are quick to reply and respond to pleas from billionaires who ask for millions of bucks to run a booze-airline, but do not even turn their heads to listen to millions of their countrymen who are shit scared to death and crying out for help. But on a ground level, it is heartening to see political parties puttign aside their differences to come together as one for this cause. But the steps they are taking here reminds me of a school kid being pushed and prodded to go to school. We seem to be going from door to door begging and pleading for our lives. Everybody seems to be spineless in their own way. When will be learn to stop bending over, but show some spine, stand up and say F U?

Read: Berly Thomas lashing out at politicians for their inaction (Malayalam)

Then we have the “film fraternity”. They are hardly a representative of the people, but cinema has today become a medium which acts as brand ambassadors for a language and its people, and actors have the largest fan following amongst all celebrities. So it is expected of cinema artistes and technicians to take a stand and speak out for their people, if nothing else to spread awareness and to give a feeling of reassurance that “there is someone who cares”. But no such luck here. As it is with the “intellectuals” above, these guys also have not even moved their little finger to come out even with a monosyllabic comment about the issue, except for Rima Kallingal, Ashik Abu, Suresh Gopi and director Ranjith. All the other heavy weights have their tails between their legs as most of their interests are based out of Chennai. They would not want to hurt feelings there and lose their investments, no matter what happens in Kerala, to those people who are the reason for whom they are now. The Kuchelas here have to be kept away at arm’s length so that they will not soil the gleaming aura of the super stars. I am not even talking about the pompous actresses who after making their career in Malayalam cinema forget this place and don’t even consider them to be Malayalees, much less care abouy issues here. And then there is Salim Kumar and his immature and uneducated comment that Mullaperiyar supporters should be stoned! Also deserving a mention is the most respected (US Citizen) great “singer of the generation”, who is least bothered about anything else unless his refused entry into temples.

Then there is the media. Take a look here on what the most discussed news items in India are. They are busy with viral songs, cricket matches, retail market investments, Olympics boycotts, failing airline stories and even Afghanistan. An issue that threatens lives of 3.5 million of it’s citizens do not figure anywhere in priority! Why? Because this is a minor issue for them which affects only a minuscule 0.3% of the people in India, which is as good as nothing and with which  They are not going to garner any TRPs with this. So it is pretty much understandable. Lives of people here are expendable, as we have repeatedly seen over the ages. The only media people who seem to be doing something on this are the Malayalam media. After much pressure and cry outs there has been a debate on a couple of news channels, but even then the issue was downplayed as a mere “water sharing issue“. As one of my friends suggested, the media would have made all the arrangements to cover the disaster when it happens to make the most money out of it screaming BREAKING NEWS!! and thrusting microphones into the faces of those who lost everything asking “How are you feeling right now?”, circling over the devastation like vultures. This will apply to politicians also, who make hollow statements after the disaster has struck.


In India, orchestrated mass support can make or break anything, as we saw during the whole anti-corruption circus. And when it comes to a small state that accounts that has often been neglected and has prospered without much investment from the central government, it does not come as a surprise that the whole issue is being downplayed. It looks like those who are more in number and politically strong matter more than the helpless and voiceless. It does not matter since Kerala is not located anywhere near Metro cities or anywhere news-making or important, like national-language speaking places. And the more disunited anyone is, the more weak they are. It looks like we do not need any opposition from Tamil Nadu or anyone else for the disaster to happen, but we will invite it upon ourselves. So Please wake up before it is too late!

And now we know who our leaders really are. And also we know that when it comes to crises that involve lives of common people, no matter how many common people, the only ones we can really count upon is no one but ourselves. For if it does, not one of those who claim to be our leaders will give a dam(n), many will be even happy and some will even make a lot of money off the disaster. The only losers will be the faceless lakhs who perish who will lose everything they have worked for in life…. So pray to whatever God you pray to, God that this does not happen. That seems to be the only way out. We are all alone. So all we can do is ignore these people to show some people power and save ourselves!

P.S: In case someone still insists the dam is safe, how can a structure 116 years old and built of stone and surki be safe? Please explain. Whatever may be the patchworks done on it, would you live in a house 116 years old in an earthquake prone area?


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